Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

A CENTURY AND A HALF LATER
Today, November 19, 2013, marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - which may be one of the finest, certainly one of the most echoed, speeches ever delivered by an American president.  More than 13,000 people gathered November 19, 1863 to dedicate the Gettysburg National Cemetery that had been carved out of that bloody battlefield where nearly 8,000 Americans - Union and Confederate soldiers - died four months earlier in the three-day Battle of Gettysburg.

AN ALMOST CASUAL CREATION
Lincoln reportedly wrote those 269 words on the back of an envelope as he rode the train to Gettysburg and was among the last speakers of the day,  finally rising to deliver his address shortly after 3:00 p.m. that day, three hours after he arrived at the site.

WITH MANY CHOICES...
In my attempt to provide a proper presentation of this magnificent, two-minute speech for you today I found recordings by many well-known dignitaries, among them Gregory Peck, Ken Burns, Jeff Daniels, Charles Laugton and a remarkable two-year old boy - Christian Voltaire -  who rattled it off flawlessly.

...I CHOSE GENERAL POWELL
In stead of selecting one of those renditions, I chose what I think is the best presentation of Lincoln's speech currently available.  This one is presented to us by retired General Colin Powell as he delivered it on November 21, 2008 at the Grand Reopening of the Museum of American History.  As you hear General Powell speak the words I hope you'll contemplate what this speech meant to our country, which was in the midst of the most costly war in our history - the Civil War.

"...and that government of the people, by the people, 
for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Steve Staveley said...

Good choice, General Powell did indeed do a great job in delivering that amazing speech. To see that battlefield and to stand where they who fought there stood is an amazing experience and one I wish all Americans could share.

11/19/2013 09:40:00 AM  

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